13 Terrible Things That Happened on Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th!

Do you ever wonder why Friday the 13th is considered bad luck? I mean, I guess I can see why a big guy with a machete wearing an old hockey mask can be viewed as unlucky if you’re a camp counselor. Wait, sorry, wrong Friday the 13th…

There is an actual scientific name for the fear of Friday the 13th, “triskaidekaphobia”. Friday the 13th is considered unlucky in Western superstition, but it’s unclear where exactly the superstition started. Tragedies and terrible things happen all the time to everyone, but there’s something about a terrible thing occurring on Friday the 13th that makes it seem just a tad bit worse. After some research, we have compiled what we consider to be 13 of the most terrible things to happen on Friday the 13th.

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  • A Leap To Death (November 13th, 1829) – Known as the first American daredevil, Sam Patch gained a reputation for his stunts. Starting small by jumping off the mill dam on his work breaks, Patch gained local fame when he jumped off the 70-foot Passaic Falls in New Jersey. On November 6, 1829, Patch arranged to do an even bigger jump, he challenged the 94-foot drop of the Genesee River in Rochester, NY. Although that jump was successful, he was disappointed with the crowd and profit he collected from such a great jump so he arranged to jump again the following week on November 13th, 1829 but this time he wanted it bigger. The height was increased to 125-feet by building a higher stand. Unfortunately he did not survive this jump, and his frozen body was found the following spring.
  • Chipita Rodriguez Hanged (November 13th, 1863) – At the age of 63, Chipita Rodriguez was convicted of murdering a trader named John Savage. She refused to testify in her defense, which some have speculated was to protect her guilty son. She was hanged on Friday the 13th of November, 1863 in San Patricio County, TX. Over a century later Texas Legislature passed a resolution noting that Rodriguez did not receive a fair trial. Her ghost is said to haunt the area, especially when a woman is to be executed.
  • Whitechapel Murder of Frances Coles (February 13th, 1891) – Suspected to be a victim of the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper, Frances Coles’ body was discovered on Friday the 13th in February 1891. A man named James Sadler was arrested and charged with her murder, but was later released for lack of evidence. However, there is evidence that there was a high-profile investigation into Sadler’s past indicating that police may have suspected him to be Jack the Ripper.
  • Black Friday Wildfire (January 13th, 1939) – Victoria, Australia’s Black Friday wildfires are amid the worst natural wildfires in the world. Approximately 4,942,00 acres of land was burned which included over 1,300 homes and 3,700 buildings, and unfortunately took the life of 71 people.
  • Murder of Kitty Genovese (March 13th, 1964) – The 28 year old Kitty Genovese was brutally stabbed to death on March 13th, 1964 in the street just across the street from her apartment building in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City. New York Times claimed that 38 witnesses were present at the time of the murder, but they did nothing to prevent it. This incident sparked what is now known as the “bystander effect” or “Genovese syndrome”, a psychological phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present.
  • 1970 Bhola Cyclone (November 13th, 1970) – The devastating cyclone known as the Bhola Cyclone struck East Pakistan and India’s West Bengal in 1970, dissipating on November, Friday the 13th. This deadly cyclone  was responsible for at least 500,000 people losing their lives.
  • Planes Crash in the Andes and Russia (October 13th, 1972) – Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed on a glacier in the remote Andes. The flight was carrying a total of 45 people on board that consisted of a rugby team, family, supporters, and friends from Montevideo, Uruguay. Facing starvation and death, the 28 survivors hesitantly resorted to cannibalism for survival which inspired the film Alive (1993) among other films. On the same day, Aeroflot Flight 217 from Paris to Moscow crashed with the loss of all 164 passengers and a flight crew of 10.
  • Bad Babysitter David McGreavy (April 13th, 1973) – After his parents kicked him out, David McGreavy moved into the home of the Ralph family. Helping the family often, he was known to be close with the 3 Ralph children and would babysit or cook dinner for them. Sadly, on Friday the 13th in April, 1973, McGreavy, while in a drunken state, murdered the 3 children while the parents were out. McGreavy denied the crimes, but told police “It was me, but, it wasn’t me”.
  • Bob Renphrey Stays Home (July 13th, 1979) – Nicknamed “The most accident-prone man in Britain”, Bob Renphrey vowed to stay in bed on every Friday the 13th following July 13th, 1979 due to a history of reoccurring bad luck he had experienced on various Friday 13ths in his lifetime. His unlucky incidents include falling into a river, walking into a plate glass window, suffering through 5 car crashes, and being run over by a motorcycle.
  • Tupac Shakur Dies in Las Vegas (September 13th, 1996) – 25 year old Tupac Shakur was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 7th, 1996. Shot twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh, Shakur was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada for treatment. Once hospitalized, Shakur was placed on life support and was put in a medically-induced coma. 6 days later Shakur passed away on Friday, September 13th due to respiratory failure that lead to cardiac arrest.
  • Lightning Strikes 13 Year Old at 13:13 (August 13th, 2010) – At the Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival in the UK, a 13 year old boy was struck by lightning at 1:13pm, which in Military Time is 13:13. The boy escaped the incident with only minor burns. There were also two others who were attending the same show and were struck by lightning as well.
  • Costa Concordia Cruiseship Capsizes (January 13th, 2012) – While on the first leg of a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea, the Costa Concordia struck a rock formation on the sea floor. The Costa Concordia’s crew was under investigation after the incident due to the captain, Francesco Schettino, leaving the ship prematurely during the evacuation while approximately 300 passengers were still on board. Captain Schettino was later found guilty of manslaughter in connection to the incident and sentenced to 16 years in prison.
  • Brittany Killgore Death (April 13th, 2012) – At only 22, Brittany Killgore had recently divorced and was looking for help moving back to her home town. After meeting Louis Ray Perez, he told Killgore that if she would party with him for the night, he and some friends would help her move. Unfortunately the night did not go as planned for Killgore, it was discovered that Perez, his wife, and another woman wanted Killgore to participate in sexual bondage activities with them. Sadly, when she refused they strangled her to death and dumped her body.



Part time Disney princess, but I love the Disney villains. I enjoy things that are spooky such as zombies, skeletons, and bad witches. I enjoy sewing projects and making delicious food and treats. My favorite superhero is Batman, because I am the night.

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